Nearly one out of every 14 bridges in Kentucky is in need of critical repair – either because it is closed, has a severely deteriorating condition or is posted with a weight restriction that limits use by commercial traffic, emergency vehicles or school buses. This is a significant safety concern for communities across the Commonwealth.
In 2018, Kentucky launched an innovative program supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) called Bridging Kentucky. The six-year program aims to tackle this problem and restore at least 1,000 of Kentucky’s more than 14,000 bridges. These major rehab and replacement projects are adding 30 to 75 years of life to critical structures that provide safe travel for citizens throughout Kentucky. Moreover, the program will dramatically reduce costly maintenance of these bridges for decades to come.
Madison County Judge-Executive Reagan Taylor said he is pleased that the program addressed several bridges in his county, including a U.S. 421 bridge that provides a vital connection among Madison, Estill, and Jackson counties.
The rural counties are located south of Lexington, Ky., and businesses there rely on this connection to Interstate 75 and Interstate 64 to transport products and freight. According to Taylor, weight restrictions on the bridge had limited use by commercial vehicles and buses, forcing a long detour. “The state actually has fixed it before it was a hindrance,” he said. “I feel like the state is doing their due diligence in being proactive instead of reactive on bridges like this, making sure our main thoroughfares stay open and we stay ahead of the game.”